The United Kingdom, also known as Britain or Great Britain, has a long and complex history that dates back thousands of years.
Prehistory: The earliest known humans in the British Isles were hunter-gatherers who arrived more than 10,000 years ago. They left behind stone tools, burial sites, and monuments like Stonehenge.
Roman Britain: The Roman Empire conquered Britain in 43 AD and stayed for nearly 400 years. They built roads, towns, and public baths, and introduced Christianity to the island.
Anglo-Saxon England: After the Romans left in the 5th century, Germanic tribes known as the Anglo-Saxons took over. They established their own kingdoms and brought their own language, which evolved into Old English.
Viking raids: Beginning in the late 8th century, Norse Vikings began raiding the British Isles. Eventually, they settled in parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Norman Conquest: In 1066, William the Conqueror invaded England and established the Norman dynasty. He and his successors built castles, churches, and a powerful centralized government.
Middle Ages: The period from the 11th to the 15th century saw the growth of English law, language, and culture. The Magna Carta, signed in 1215, established the principle of limited royal power.
Tudor dynasty: In the 16th century, Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church and established the Church of England. His daughter Elizabeth I presided over a period of artistic and literary flourishing.
The British Empire: Starting in the 17th century, Britain built a vast overseas empire, stretching from India to the Americas. This brought wealth and power, but also conflicts and exploitation.
Industrial Revolution: Britain led the way in the 18th and 19th centuries with the Industrial Revolution, which saw the growth of factories, railways, and steam power. Urbanization and social change followed.
World War I: The Great War, which began in 1914, claimed the lives of millions of British soldiers and civilians. The country emerged from the conflict with a sense of national identity and pride.
World War II: Britain played a key role in defeating Nazi Germany and its allies during World War II. The country suffered heavy losses, but was ultimately victorious.
Post-war era: In the decades since WWII, Britain has undergone major social and political changes, including the end of empire, the rise of a mult